How to prepare your restaurant for Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start making festive preparations so your restaurant is ready for the holiday season.


From corporate parties to family gatherings, your establishment is likely to experience an increase in demand. Given last year’s restrictions due to Covid-19, this growth in demand might even be more accentuated than usual.


The most wonderful time of the year is usually the busiest for restaurants, which is why it’s so important to prepare in advance.


christmas tree with a buble on a festive background with lights

Did you know? “Christmas dinner bookings 2021 near me” is now a “breakout” topic on Google Trends, as well as “Christmas menu”, “Christmas lunch 2021", and “Christmas food to order 2021”.


Here’s our complete guide on how to prepare your restaurant or pub for the festive season ahead, including practical advice and helpful tips to help you stay on top of things and make the most of it.


Your Team


It’s no news that the hospitality industry is experiencing people shortages, so make sure you’ve got enough employees to cover the seasonal increase in demand. If you need to fill any gaps, do so as soon as possible to ensure you’ve got time to find the right candidates and provide adequate training.


Consider having backup in case a member of your team falls ill or in case there’s an unexpected surge in demand caused by last-minute bookings. Having a plan B (and C and D) is key.


On another note, make sure to keep your restaurant team in the loop. Hold meetings regularly and communicate clearly – from menu changes to altered timetables and cleaning procedures, you must ensure they are always informed.


Lastly, remember that your team may experience lack of motivation or burnout during the busy holiday season due to extended working hours, increased business and high customer-service standards. With this mind, don’t forget to check up on their wellbeing, and try to find ways of motivating and rewarding them for their hard work.


festive gingerbread cookies to illustrate christmas in restaurants

Merry menus


Consider making festive tweaks to your menu – or even creating a new one just for the holiday season. From spiced mulled wine to roasted turkey, make sure to think about the drinks, starters, mains and desserts you want to offer. You don’t have to opt solely for traditional flavours – you can always get creative and do something different.


As your restaurant is sure to get busier, keep a close eye on your inventory and ingredients to ensure nothing is missing. You wouldn’t want to run out of cranberry sauce on Christmas eve. As such, it’s critical to plan deliveries carefully, and to communicate any issues immediately.


Decorating your restaurant for Christmas


It’s important to create a festive atmosphere in your restaurant during the holiday season. There are many decorating themes and colours to choose from, from traditional and cosy to modern and magical. Here are some fun elements you may want to incorporate in your restaurant as Christmas draws near:


  • Music: consider creating a playlist; you can include nostalgic classics, soothing jazz or even new festive hits

  • Candles: add a magical touch to your establishment with candles; you can choose scented options like fresh pine, cinnamon or gingerbread

  • Table decorations: consider adding festive napkins and Christmas centrepieces for a special touch

  • Trees: you may want to set up one or more trees in your restaurant; and consider adding fairy lights for a festive look and feel

You may also want to think about decorating the windows and any outdoor space to make your establishment look more inviting to passersby. You can find lots of great ideas to inspire your restaurant decorations on Pinterest or Instagram.


christmas decorations in restaurant, including a red candle

Festive promotions & deals


Promotions can encourage people to visit your restaurant and increase the number of repeat visits. There are many types of deals you can offer such as set menus at a special price or even two-for-one meals.


If you’re not sure which type of promotion to run, check out Gourmet Marketing’s festive ideas.


Make sure to research your customer’s preferences as well as the competition to ensure you run a successful Christmas promotion. Additionally, ensure that you have the resources to fulfill all promotions and that they will indeed be profitable for your business.


In addition to promotions, you should also think about other ways of marketing your venue, like social media and emails. Capitalise on your merrily decorated restaurant and your beautifully prepared dishes by taking lots of photographs that you can use on your media channels. This will help persuade customers to visit your establishment over the Christmas period and allows them to share feedback too.


Sustainability during the holiday season


There are a few things you can think about and implement to ensure your restaurant is more sustainable this season.


Think about festive food waste and how you can avoid it. Whilst you want to be prepared for last-minute bookings, you also don’t want to produce excess food that results in waste. If, for example, you have surplus turkey dinners, takeaway could be a solution but make sure you have the effective food safety procedures in place for this. Food waste apps could also be an option.


Furthermore, make sure to request that customers give you an adequate notice period for cancellations that suits your needs and prevents waste. Check out this article from BigHospitality on how restaurants are reducing waste during the Christmas season for more practical advice and insights.


restaurant window decorated with snowflakes and lights

On another note, if you are still using paper for your food hygiene checks, you may want to consider switching to a food safety compliance app instead. This will reduce the amount of paper your business uses and is therefore an eco-friendlier option. What’s more, it cuts costs and saves your team precious time which could be allocated elsewhere, especially during busier periods. Finally, a food safety app can also help improve your food hygiene score.


How to get your restaurant ready for Christmas


Preparing your restaurant for the busy holiday season is all about effective planning and communication.


There are many elements to ensuring Christmas is a success at your establishment, namely:


· Ensure you’ve got enough staff to meet the increase in demand

· Make sure everyone’s schedules are defined and confirmed

· Communicate any seasonal changes in a clear and timely manner

· Create a festive menu that appeals to customers

· Run promotions that encourage more visits

· Utilise social media to promote your establishment and receive feedback

· Employ strategies to avoid festive food waste

Here at Hubl, we love talking about all-things hospitality. Whether you need advice on how to create a menu, or want to learn about the latest restaurant technology trends, we’ve got you covered.